Anti-tobacco forces score victory in Guam

The push to limit kids’ access to tobacco scored a victory in Guam, a South Pacific paradise with the highest adult smoking rate — 29.2 percent — among the United States and its territories.

Guam passed a resolution Friday to bump the tobacco purchase age to 21, according to the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation.

Tobacco 21 is pushing cities and states to increase the legal purchase age to 21 to make it more difficult for children and young adults to buy cigarettes, chew and other products. High school students can find 18-year-old friends to buy them tobacco but it’s more burdensome to get a 21-year-old to do so. If youngster find it more difficult to access tobacco, they may never pick up the habit, advocates for Tobacco 21 say.

Dr. Rob Crane, an Ohio State University associate professor of family medicine and president of the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, has been lobbying jurisdictions to raise the purchase age to 21.

In April, Cleveland outlawed the purchase of tobacco products for anyone under 21. In May, California passed a similar law.

Ohio has a higher rate of smokers — 23.3 percent — than the national average of 19.6 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

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